UFO Conjecture(s)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Early Airships that are now called UFOs

Photos of airships, from the turn of the 20th century and 1915, indicate flying machines that were mistaken in some quarters, by some people, for other-worldly craft or advanced human-created aircraft.

Here are some German Zeppelins that show the kind of light rays that Anthony Bragalia found in his research of the 1966 Wanaque UFO sightings. (Everything old is new again, apparently.)

And sights of balloons, such as this one, guarding the English coastline, surely provoked awe among the general population of Britain, causing speculation that the flying contraptions were something other than what they really were.

The human imagination has a tendency to run away with itself. as a mechanism against the reality and/or boredom of everyday life.

Such fevered imaginings may also account for many flying saucer sightings of the late 1940s and 1950s, and some even today, rooted in the need for people to be part of something beyond the routine of daily living.

UFO researchers would do well to separate the wheat from the chaff; that is, they (ufologists, to use that coined epithet) have to search out truly unique UFO events, those that represent something more than a light in the sky.

We'll concentrate more and more, here, on sightings, new and old, that speak to something truly unusual, including those sightings that appear to be induced by psychopathology or hallucinatory elements. (Such bizarre sightings have been eschewed, pretty much, by some early flying saucer/UFO investigators, such as the eminent Donald Keyhoe and the NICAP crowd, while others, such as John Keel and Brad Steiger, got sidetracked by paranormal aspects of sightings that had nothing to do with the UFO sightings themselves, but were merely appurtanances that their personalities were attraced to or attracted.)



  • Going off the lengthy series of accounts in Clark's 'Emergence,' it does seem as if many of the early reports were the same as our mid-20th Century reports. Flashing lights, circular objects and one from 1878 even being described in terms of a 'saucer (p357).' The 'saucer nests' were similar too.

    With airships being the only flying object with which to compare sightings, they were described in such terms. How much was generated by reporters/editors falsely attributing (making up or putting words in mouths)phrases we'll never know. Likewise, at least two popular airship accounts are shaggy dog tales from top to bottom.

    I wonder if there was a core frequency of sightings that got screwed over in the same way as the 40s through 60s? It wasn't long after the first 'saucers' before media was ridiculing and people were reporting outlandish claims of peaceful visitors. Back in the C19, perhaps the hanging contrivances, with their leather-coat wearing occupants and whirring props, were similarly sourced in human psychology?

    There could be a signal in the noise of hoaxers. What drives some of them to inject so much BS into the environment could be an aspect of the phenomena itself, but that's an idea for another day.

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Friday, October 21, 2011  

  • Kandinsky,

    There is something to be studied in the context of airship sightings and flying saucer sightings of the early years, and UFOs now.

    That something is sociological or psychological, which stands apart from the actual phenomenon, which is "real" in some unexplainable way.

    The confluence of a "real" phenomenon with the attributes of a schizoid society doesn't help the reasearcher who isn't adept at one or both.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, October 21, 2011  

  • Have you seen "UFOs and Alien Contact" by Bartholomew and Howard (1998)?

    The first half of it is devoted to airship, zeppelin and other sightings from 1890 to 1940. The Swedish 'ghost rockets delusion' of 1946 also gets a chapter, except that they were assumed to be Russian rockets captured from the Nazis. Probably not a single observed 'ghost rocket' was Russian, but such was the post-war anxiety at the time. Also, none were saucer shaped. Strange, in view of what was allegedly observed 12 months later over the USA.

    By Blogger cda, at Friday, October 21, 2011  

  • I haven't seen/read the book Christopher, but will check it out.

    I think after-war "anxiety" accounts for some misperceived sightings, whether ghost rockets or flying saucers.

    However, the late 1890s, being a peak period for human creativity (the arts, music, literature, theater, inventions, et cetera) rules out an "anxiety" prognosis.

    But that creative thrust might have engendered an imaginative insert in the collective unconscious.

    There is some literature, as you know, that speaks to the periods of history when creativity was sparked, and contained in a time-frame.

    The late 1800s were such a period, whereas the 1940s and 50s were not, just as the 1970s weren't.

    So one has to take into account various factors and sociological or psychological elements, along with actual intrusions of something "real" but evanescent when trying to understand the UFO phenomenon, in toto.

    No one in the current panoply of "ufologists" has done this or is competent to do so.

    However, maybe your book is in that league, along with a few other under-appreciated tomes.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, October 21, 2011  

  • I had posted an essay on "Social Scripting, Quantum Neurology and AntiStructural Anomalies" when I came across yours, and my thinking as of late follows along on your path, which is the role of social scripting that is a sort of faux language that arises from the complexities of experiential anomalies. I am wondering if this has a tie to neurology and it's links to psychology rather than to strictly empirical, independent phenomenon. I quote John Steinbeck who suggested that the why posed before the how is an essential issue.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, October 21, 2011  

  • Beware, it is published by Prometheus Books, i.e. that anti- everything lot.

    By Blogger cda, at Friday, October 21, 2011  

  • Bruce:

    "Social scripting" comes about, as you are aware, from mental interferences from many sources.

    One would have to zero in on or narrow down which particular element(s) cause social scripting.

    Jung's approach, with the collective unconscious" applies, I think, to profound attributes, profound events, but some minor events affect a smaller segment of society or civilization and could provide paradigms or memes -- I hate the term! -- that only apply to that smaller segment, such as UFO sighters.

    Ghosts or other paranormal artifacts can be viewed likewise.

    That is, a few establish what you call social scripting that only affects them and their social milieu....the UFO mavens, for instance.

    Such events as The Exodus, or The Holocaust, or the (Noah) Flood, or The Black Plague bring about a ripple in the mental stream of humanity, producing an archetypal "tattoo" that Jung called the collective unconscious.

    Were dealing with a lesser "tattoo" -- UFO sightings.

    And what social script produces such sightings?

    What are the symptoms that create UFO sightings -- those sightings that are not of "real" craft but, rather, sightings brought about by a quirk in the human mind-set?

    Jung's book addresses the issue but is little too broad to enclose the limited UFO meme.

    The topic is rife for discussion but maybe not in a blog format like this one.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, October 21, 2011  

  • Prometheus Books -- those bastards!


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, October 21, 2011  

  • There is already a wealth of literature going into these aspects.

    I was rather disappointed that you did not know of "UFOs and Alien Contact" by Bartholomew and Howard (1998), as it has been sitting here on my shelf ever since, together with Bullard's Airship File, Cohen's and Chariton's and Busby's books, together with the Gross, Eisleb and Greenwood monographs. Or my own essays in publications such as the Darklore and Anomalist volumes.

    What I mean to say is that this particular aspect of the debate has been entered for quite a while now.

    As to this part by your hand that I am quoting, could you elaborate with a few examples where, in your opinion, this was the case?

    "...while others, such as John Keel and Brad Steiger, got sidetracked by paranormal aspects of sightings that had nothing to do with the UFO sightings themselves, but were merely appurtanances that their personalities were attraced to or attracted.)"

    Sincere regards,


    By Blogger theo paijmans, at Sunday, October 23, 2011  

  • Theo:

    We have many books, not every book, but those that count, such as {Edward P. A.] Connaughton's "Catalogue of Airships" [E.P. Dutton, NY, 1923].

    We extrapolate from the books we have.

    As for Brad Steiger and John Keel, one can say almost authoritatively that, just as psychiatrists seek out their profession because they have an innate awareness that there is something amiss in their mental make-up, paranormalists are attracted to their interests because something is amiss in their everyday lives, and by going into the realm of the paranormal, attract fringe stimuli which they interpret to be meaningful when, in fact, that stimuli is prosaic or mundane but which they misperceive because they think something profound lies outside their humdrum existence, something that gives a meaning to their humdrum lives.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, October 23, 2011  

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